Rover 75 : 2010 Replacement

The 2010 Rover 3500

Anyone thinking that the Design Team at Longbridge lacked an understanding of Rover’s rich history should be reassured – and saddened – by these images. Reassured because this imposing looking saloon oozed Rover from its every pore and, had it made production in a form resembling these images, it would have advanced the marque’s prospects globally. As for being saddened, well, it’s not hard to visualise these cars coming to market about now, backed by Chinese investment and ambition, underpinned by British skill.

These are images of Lee Mitchell’s proposal for his facelifted Rover 75 – as can be seen, Lee wanted to reinstate some of Rover’s cast iron solidity that were an integral part of the Rover P5’s DNA but, ironically, he’s been influenced by the car that clearly took its styling cues from the ministerial Rover. ‘There were three chosen scale models,’ he said. ‘One was more of a tradionally styled replacement in the vein of then then current 75; another was a lot more Japanese looking, looking rather like a Lexus; and then there was mine.

‘I was influenced at that stage by the Chrysler 300C and that American idea of a hot gangster-style sedan. However, the P6 was also very much in my mind as an influence on a modern Rover saloon. I felt the new vehicle should be sporty, unique and tough looking, something that would banish any lingering olde worlde image that Rover had at that time. I did not personally feel that another retro styled vehicle was the way forward.’

Obviously, these cars had no chance of reaching production without a joint venture partner, hence the desperate need to tie-up with Shanghai Automotive. Lee makes it clear that they only made it as far as the clay model stage and, going from the nomenclature on the registration plates, there probably wasn’t even an engine package in place. However, one does wonder what might have been with the Anglo-Chinese tie-up, because looking at the speed SAIC has developed Roewe and MG from a near standing start, and with much UK input, it’s easy to imagine how the team might have faired from a running start.

2010 P7B

More intriguing are these images, which detail another of Lee’s 75 replacement proposals. There’s a mix of influences here, from the P5 (in the grille), through the Mercedes-Benz CLS (in the overall four-door coupe concept) to the 2006 75 facelift (in the headlamp treatment of the final proposal, below). They all have their good points, and it’s clear that there’s genuine potential for a Rover revival had these cars been built…

…or even maybe revived via the Rover marque’s current owner, Tata-controlled Jaguar-Land Rover. It’s good to dream.

However, these are just dream images. Lee stated: ‘here are some sketches of some alternative 75 replacements that I proposed that were different in theme and style to the black ones (top). There is also an image of a flagship coupe that was talked about but never even got into scale models!’

Thanks to Lee Mitchell

Keith Adams


  1. How are you sir?

    I would like to know the current price of ROVER 3500 year of manufacture should be 2010.

    Please send to me all the details related to this car.

    Hope to hearing from you soon.


  2. Have said it before and will say again here Lee Mitchell is one hell of a Designer ! Yet another Great Shame…

  3. i would love to know the current price of rover 3500 and the year of manufacture,currently i have been using the rover 25 but i think i have been impressed by the images i just saw of the rover 75

  4. Great looks I think a great continuation of a great motor car. Exactly what it should be! alex

  5. It looks excellent. JLR should consider bringing back the marque, maybe for a small saloon or even for a car like the TCV.

  6. Wow. These visuals are fabulous. Lee Mitchell well done, truly talented.
    I instantly saw influences from Lincoln and Audi. The first design is a real world beater and it is very sad it didn’t see the light if day. Pheonix 4 screwed up negotiation as we all now know.
    Very clean and modern lines which is were Rover needed to head. Rover originally was a very forward looking company with jet engine proposals, which even today sound outlandishly futuristic. Although I love the idea of calling it the P7B.

  7. A Chrysler 300 mixed with Skoda Superb influence, the headlight arrangement on the black proposal are almost Saab like.

    Looks great, but would it have sold?

  8. There are quite a lot of designer’s visualisations of many models featured in AR Online. What almost always happened is that if anything did eventually go into production, the end result usually looked nothing like the spectacular, exotic, original design.

  9. Its hard to imagine with the resources available, the starting point of the decade old 75 platform that the end result would be able to take on the Audi / BMW 3 cars.

    At best it could have been a nearly car like the Saab 95, or more likely a 3rd division offering like the MG 6.

  10. Great designs! I would buy one to replace my Rover 75 tourer that was due to be replaced in the late 2000’s.

  11. All very impressive but hard to see how they would have made reality. Then again had SAIC seen a future reviving the Rover marque 2005 onwards then who knows….

    Today though I definitely do see a future for Rover, a brand TATA could fit below Jaguar, Land Rover. Rover could quite easily gain appeal, credibility amongst today’s buyers if viewed as a smaller Jaguar, Land Rover.

  12. It almost makes you cry.. how can a company seemingly deliberately miss opportunity after opportunity like this? and then turn out such dross like the Allegro & others (in comparison).
    P6 sports car – cancelled – and the Allegro Equipe gets the OK?
    I honestly think that even if there wasn’t shed loads of Japanese cars flooding the uk market when Leyland folded up they’d have died anyway – blanded themselves to a slow death.
    This would have sold well – a homebrew 300C, what’s not to like especially if they’d done a hatch & what the US calls a ‘police package. SD1 TP Vitesse part II.

  13. #13. The BS was a car with no ready market for it. One only has to look at what happened to the Porsche 914 to see that cars with that type of styling were a minority interest in the 1970s .

  14. Some good styling themes there with echoes of Rover 75 and current Jag XJ even if they are rather out of proportion in places. The wheels look utterly ridiculous though, miles out of scale to the rest of the car.

  15. Re 12: You must remember two keys points when discussing a return of the ‘Rover’ name: Within the UK market, the Rover badge is seen as almost a badge of shame. Outside of the UK, Rover is virtually unknown, and certainly carries no prestige association. Indeed, in the key US market Rover considered so much of a joke that a new brand – Sterling – had to be invented, to allow the 800 to go on sale there.

  16. @Kev

    I’d say that the SD1 is long forgotten in the US, and given that most people call Land Rovers / Range Rovers ‘Rovers’, the name still has weight to it.

    Fiat and Alfa Romeo gave up on the US market, but the former is having moderate success with the 500, the latter is to be spearheaded by a new RWD saloon / SUV range.

  17. Re 19: Fiat have a huge advantage – they control Chrysler. That gives them an established dealer and distribution network, an established homologation position, and financial ‘clout’ in the market. The 500 is sold as a novelty/fashion car, something like Mini.

    Rover has nil/negative image, in a market where that counts. If there is a place for a re-launched British brand, it’s a place for Triumph. That name is still well regarded in the market, and still has appeal. That’s why BMW let the Rover name go, but retained Triumph. They recognised one – Triumph – could be a rival, and that Rover never could be.

  18. Kev @ 17

    1. I don’t think that within the UK the Rover badge is a “badge of shame”. Even in it’s dying days with ageing models it still had a hard core of support (though small and often elderly). Many buyers would have viewed 25s and 45s as perfectly ok but not modern enough. Plus, you don’t have to go back too far to a period of “above all, it’s a Rover” popularity – something which shortly before was hard to imagine.
    2. Anyway, my point is this – Rover today could easily be viewed as a smaller, saloon version of the Land Rover. Any negative associations with times gone by need not really enter the equation as far as creating a brand image for today is concerned.

  19. I think, as much as we would all love for Rover to be brought back, the chances are, well, quite high actually, the news that Jaguar Land Rover and its Chinese partner are that they have to bring to market a joint venture brand.

    HEY PRESTO, Rover, instantly recognisable in many countries, can be used as a hybrid style brand to bring the corporate CO2 levels down to European levels, plus our beloved brand will be given an airing with money behind it, for the first time in decades.

    Hopefully it is something that the bosses at TATA and JLR have considered, time has past, memories are fuzzy, a good product, with a good marketing campaign, can cover over all sorts of rubbish.

  20. The only way Rover is coming back is as a sub brand of LAND ROVER and it would make sense for The new Chery JLR JV to be branded as Rover but no one knows except them what their strategy of brand naming is on the JV. JLR would have to be really trusting to put the Rover name on a JV vehicle, unless they retained the total rights to the name and Im not sure Chery would invest in that concept…. Who knows but remember they do own the ancient name of Lanchester but no one except the folks on this site remembers it.

  21. I would like the Rover Brand to come back. I don’t think the reputation would be an issue now, I think that the public could easily be educated that the car “is” made by JLR. One problem would be that while it might be able to sit below Jaguar as a sub brand, that is pretty much where the other cars are now. Most of the players have had to move upmarket to stay ahead of the Chinese cars which are about to be spring on the market. Hyundai and Kia for example are quite smart cars and well featured. It would be hard to make a care that is better featured these days. The only way Rover would survive to make it “extremely reliable low cost of ownership” (with a view to knock everything else), conservative but excellent styling and sporty all in one) but if the rover was a small car versus Jaguars larger cars then that might work. alex

  22. I too would like to see a quality vehicle sporting a Rover badge. It’s not going to happen though because JRL are not going to want to taint their reputation with being associated with memories of failing head gaskets, Jeremy Clarkson p#ss taking and blue rinse brigade Rover 45s. Just look at the MG badge now. Virtually nobody would be seen dead buying a new MG model because even though most of us want to see the marque succeed, you`d feel a bit of a burke driving round in one.

    Would like to be proved wrong though……….

  23. We British love an underdog, and whilst these styling sketches were not realisable in the flesh (rubber band tyres, ground-scraping nose, and Joan Collins shoulders)- I think that a thoroughly modern Rover could have emerged from these sketches, and moved the game on.

    Lee Mitchell ought to have been an almost household name amongst car fans- and a productionised version of these plans would have cemented that. Especially if Rover had gone for two tone paintwork- hell, even Bini and Citroen (with their DS range) do contrasting body colours and roofs- Rover could have done classically British two tone body sides and really stolen a march on those Continental rivals.

    Classy proposals, and yet another of oh-so-many lost opportunities.

  24. No matter how good the design appears on paper if it was manufactured by Rover it would have likely ended up as a second rate poorly engineered also ran. We would all be lamenting about yet another lost opportunity and the failure of the car buying public to do their patriotic duty by actually buying one. These guys lets face just weren’t very good at making cars hence they went bankrupt.

  25. To Mark (post 30).
    Oh dear, I don’t remember anyone complaining about the build quality of the Rover 200, or 400, or 600, or 800, or 25, or 45, or 75, or MGF, or MGTF.
    To put the failure at the feet of a substandard work force is so wrong it’s laughable.
    The real blame is the cars were of an outdated design and needed replacing, this was one such attempt, but it was always going to be a struggle when BMW raped them after they designed the MINI for them, and then kept this and sold off Land Rover.

    If you were in charge of the workforce they never would have mastered the wheel. Or fire.

    You are an idiot.

  26. P7b looks AWESOME. Looks like it was hewn from granite and the front of it a clear representation of the P6 (lamps) and P5 (grille). The rear end of the R3500(?) is a good representation of the P6. Profile looks great from the R3500 looks solid.

    Awesome stuff. My bets are still on TATA releasing small passenger cars under the Rover name in 15 years… we shall see…

  27. I think Ross A is correct.

    I was on my way to see family at the weekend and driving in front of me was a 3 door Rover 216 GTi in that gorgeous dark metallic blue, it looked amazing and I remembered how good and expensive that model looked at the time. as I passed it I re looked at the large C pillar and it reminded me a bit of the pillar on the new Discovery concept. I think JLR could bring out a Focus sized Rover City car, connect it’s styling to the current models and older Honda Concerto/Rover 200 and SDI. They already have front wheel drive models and could use their all wheel drive technology in the upper most expensive model. I would buy one in a heart beat.

  28. The P7B looks a great ‘sister’ car to the XE, the Jaguar being the competitor for the 4-series as a sporty almost coupe like profile, for those drivers who want to feel like they are driving a sports car, while the Rover would be the more ‘regal’ car, a bit like a rolls Royce, ( in fact Rovers were considered by many to be the junior Rolls).

    By using the XE platform, costs would be less and it would give JLR complete coverage of the junior executive level of cars from sports saloon to classy.


    XE saloon and tourer to compete with proposed Mercedes CLC and BMW 4-series
    P7B saloon, estate, coupe and convertible to compete with Mercedes C-class.

    Then the XF could spawn a Rover model to compete with E-class, while XF concentrated on 6-series and CLS

    Just looking at Mercedes line up could easily be covered by JLR, without diluting any brand into market segments that would be a risk.

    F-type would be competitor for new GT, leaving XK to fight SL, with a new small roadster to compete with SLK; this platform would also spawn small Jaguar (CLA), and Rover cars (compact hatch, and compact MPV)

    LR already have most bases covered with their vehicles, but maybe Jaguar could do a SUV coupe to compete with forthcoming mercedes

  29. Real presence to the design until you get to last image – One Night Stand with Lancia springs to mind…

  30. I still rather like the (3rd pic down) full front view of this car, but perhaps with narrower wheel arches? Turning the clock forward from 2010, I still think it would look good on the roads now.

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